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Christmas carols – one of the most ancient Slavic holidays. It originates in paganism therefore long since the special part in celebration was assigned to various images of animals.
First of all it found reflection in a ryazhenye. There is a number of traditional characters, but as the main character the goat – a symbol of fertility and wellbeing often acts. With an ulterior motive the main ceremony of carol-singing is called "driving of a goat". Was considered that its presence saves the house from evil spirits and also provides a good harvest and an issue at a livestock therefore each family hospitably met carolers.
As a rule, in a suit of a goat the young lively guy changed clothes, but in some villages managed an effigy from straw. Headed going round carol-singing the "guide" driving "goat" on a lead. Masked went on houses where the whole representation was developed. During the chants "goat" danced, made advances to going round carol-singing and members of household, and then fell "dead". That "to recover" her, owners treated masked with fat or others "prysmakami" then they went to go round carol-singing to other house.
Symbolism of a ceremony originates in antiquity as initially Christmas carols is a pagan holiday of a winter solstice. "Death" of a goat symbolized the termination of old year, and "revival" — turn of the sun on a new circle. Moreover, ancient Slavs considered that carolers personified souls of the died ancestors who came to visit the family on a joint of old and new year to wish wellbeing. The casings turned inside out in which going round carol-singing ryaditsya symbolized the inverted world, that is the world of the dead. Thus they wanted to show that souls of the late ancestors came to the village. For this reason nobody could refuse an entertainment to such guests and if masked did not visit someone's house, then it was an evil omen. The only exception – in families in which there did not pass year from the date of death of close to go round carol-singing did not go.
Driving of "bear" – a symbol of fertility, force and health was less widespread tradition. Slavs believed that it can save them from evil forces and illnesses. Among other traditional characters were "horse" — a symbol of the sun, "stork" — a symbol of happiness and welfare and also a crane, a cow, a wolf and a goose.
Images of animals are present also at culinary Christmas traditions. For example, for a holiday "kozul" – cookies in the form of animals and birds were baked. Their preparation was a separate ritual in which all family participated. Decorated with them the house, presented the family and children. And also surely treated going round carol-singing that the cattle was found. Besides, "kozulyam" fed also animals that they propagated and did not hurt. At the same time several figures surely left in the house till next year as a charm. What is interesting, these cookies wonderfully did not spoil and were quite edible even a year later.
Speaking about the Christmas-tide, it is necessary to remember a favourite entertainment of youth, a ceremony of guessing in which animals were quite often used. For example, there is a type of guessing with participation of a cat or cat. Previously having placed котофея in other room, it is necessary to make a wish and to call the favourite. If he crosses a threshold the right paw – it is necessary to overcome difficulties on the way to a dream if left – desire comes true.
Many types of fortune-telling on hens are also known. For example, it is possible to come with the narrowed eyes into the hen house and to take the first brood hen. Color of feathers will indicate hair color of future half. And if the girl wants to learn destiny, then for this purpose it is necessary to take a handful of grain and to count in it kernels. Then to treat with them chicken and to count the rest. If it shares in two, then this year the young person will marry.
However hens – not only who will be able to tell the fortunes. From pets for this role also horses quite will approach. One of types of guessing on horses is to bring an animal out of the stable, having enclosed at the exit a stick or a log in advance. If the horse steps on a barrier or will stumble – the girl is waited by unhappy married life as the husband will get with bad character. And if the horse does not touch an obstacle, then to the girl will carry as the promised will be kind and tender. One more popular way is to tie with a scarf horses eyes and to bring her for gate. To what party she will go – from there will arrive the groom.